By : Shane Curran, CEO - Interact Group
All restaurants want to look attractive and inviting to diners. However, before the rise of social media, the principal focus was on the food's impact on their customers. How their establishment would look in a photograph was, at best, a subsequent matter.
To keep up with the booming social media world, more and more restaurants are designing spaces with Instagram-bait spots in mind. After all, they not only please and engage customers; they also are an effective form of online advertising.
From bespoke lighting, tiled floors, lots of greenery and kitsch antiques, here are the top five Instagrammable restaurant design trends for 2018.
1. Bespoke Lighting
For restaurateurs who are concerned with how their space looks when photographed, lighting is an essential trend. Unfortunately, dim lighting that appears utterly grainy on a phone or a camera is not going to reflect the experience favorably so an Instagram-focused design trend means immersing a space with (ideally natural) light.
Not to mention that no matter where or what they are eating, all diners want to be sitting in a restaurant with lighting that makes them look good!
For this reason, bespoke lighting (which is lighting custom designed to the specifications of a client) has witnessed a massive growth in popularity. Additionally, renovated spaces for restaurants are utilizing large windows and skylights to get the most out of their space.
Features such as individual remote controls and dimming and color options are also necessary so that restaurants can curate that perfect photograph spot.
Other ways leading restaurateurs brighten up their establishments is to include bright wall coverings, polished chrome finishes, accent mirrors, LED strips and overall lighter color palettes. There is an art and science to matching lighting design with interiors, so working only with reputable interior design and fit out companies is crucial.
Armed with a growing body of research on the positive health effects of seeing and being around greenery, restaurants around the world are including plants in their designs. From potted cacti on tables to massive living walls, these plants operate as an antidote to the machine-made world.
Both for its design and its philosophy, greenery is key to winning the hearts (and photos) of the Instagramming generation. Farm-to-table restaurants are becoming even more popular and the number of restaurants who grow herbs and vegetables on-site will continue to grow.
3. Tiled Floors
Thanks to Instagram accounts such as @ihavethisthingwithfloors (843k followers) and @parisianfloors (145k), diners are continuously looking down in restaurants. The prominence of these accounts proves that everyone loves a beautiful tiled floor!
Whether they are photographed in perspective or with a feet-and-floor shot, tiled floors work as a visual connector throughout your restaurant space. And this trend doesn't seem to be going anywhere!
Many older restaurants were also designed as visual experiences, but then, their primary purpose was to lure drivers to pull off the road and dine there. Now the "kitsch" aesthetic is back on trend but with a millennial agenda. Instagram users love to document the smallest details, from fixtures to furniture.
In order to differentiate your restaurant, you can opt to design the space around a theme or concept that communicates a story. In fact, design elements such as the chairs, silverware, bathroom sinks, and doorknobs can really strengthen your brand positioning.
5. Open Kitchens
With the popularity of cooking and chef television shows, along with a generation of diners who value "experiences," it is no surprise that open kitchens are so prevalent. Customers want to witness their food being made and be part of the action.
By having a contemporary kitchen design, such as an open floor plan, a restaurant can both showcase the kitchen and engage with diners and as a result provide further extraordinary and enjoyable experiences. Patrons will feel as though they are part of the restaurant’s story — and will document each moment on their Insta-story!
Nothing can substitute for delicious food and attentive service, but design elements such as colorful tiles, open kitchens and kitsch furniture are valuable supplements to any restaurant. All the small design details aid in making a memorable first impression for every visitor.